Guwahati, Tuesday, February 12, 2019
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Airport Authority shuttlers clinch team title
SPORTS REPORTER
 GUWAHATI, Feb 11 - Airport Authority of India (AAI) emerged champions in the Yonex-Sunrise 74th Inter State-Inter Zonal Badminton Championship being held at the Deshbhakta Tarun Ram Phookan Indoor Stadium in RG Baruah Sports Complex here.

In the gruelling team championship final played today, AAI got the better of Railways 3-2. In the menís singles, Lakshya Sen of AAI defeated Subhankar Dey 21-17, 21-17 while Aakarshi Kashyap doubled the lead with a 21-12, 21-14 victory over Anura Prabhudesai in womenís singles.

However, the Railways team staged a great fightback by winning the menís doubles. The pair of Kabir Kanzarkar and Hemanagendra Babu T reduced the margin by defeating AAI duo of Shlok Ramchandran and Chirag Sen 21-18, 17-21, 21-18. Railways drew parity by winning the womenís doubles as Riya Mookerjee and Anura Prabhudesai trounced Shriyanshi Pardeshi and Sneha Santhilal 21-8, 21-8.

But Shriyanshi Pardeshi and Shlok Ramchandran kept their cool to capture the mixed doubles event by defeating Kanika Kanwal and Akshay Raut 21-9, 17-21, 21-8.

PTI adds: Indiaís badminton queens Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu will reignite their on-field rivalry at home turf for the coveted womenís singles title at the 83rd edition of the Senior National Badminton Championships which begins with the qualifiers here on Tuesday.

Sindhu and Saina will undoubtedly be the biggest attraction with some big names including last editionís finalists, Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy giving the tournament a miss due to fitness issues.

The duo, finalists at the last edition, have been Indiaís biggest achievers over the years, including last season.

While Sindhu capped off the season with a maiden gold at the World Tour Final in December after reaching six finals, including the major events such as Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championship, Saina too have entered four finals, with one resulting in a gold at the Commonwealth Games.

Saina had the last laugh in the last edition of the tournament against Sindhu and she went on to get the better off her compatriot at Gold Coast final as well for her second CWG gold.

Another summit clash is likely on the cards for the celebrated shuttlers and they would look to out do each other ahead of the All England championship early next month.

Defending champion Saina, who made a good start to the new BWF season with a title triumph at the Indonesia Masters, will look to conquer the Nationals for the fourth time, while Sindhu too would hope to lift the trophy for a third time.

According to the tournament rules, the top 8 players, ranked below 50 in the BWF World Rankings as on January 18 in both menís and womenís singles, will start directly from the pre-quarterfinals on completion of the Super Draw on February 14.

If any slot is left vacant then players with top BAI Rankingsí will be considered to fill up rest of the top 8, who will get a direct entry into the pre-quarters.

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